Hello Everyone 👋 and welcome to what's happening only in San José: a deep dive into San José's Constitutional Convention (2021 Charter Review Commission), for those with a shared interest in the policy process of and amendments to our City Constitution (i.e. City Charter).
🌪️ But first, about last week’s whirlwind drama… at the Rules & Open Government Committee, after public outcry Council Member Jones and Jimenez withdrew their memo to allow the Commissioner’s to continue their work on police, climate, and housing (Public Comment, Council Discussions), a mic-drop win for the Charter Commission and community, as reported by the San José Mercury News
⚖️ What happened this Monday at the San José Constitutional Convention… our epic legislative saga nears its final ascent, clocking in at a record breaking 6 hours and 36 minutes 😅! The Commission covered a lucky 13 topics on Voting & Elections AND Policing Municipal Law, Accountability and Inclusion. With the time traveling clock magic of Daylight’s Saving time looming ahead of us, the evening felt like a never ending suspension in the twilight zone of recommendations. However, at the stroke of midnight, reprieve was in sight! After this one day rest stop, the commission will trek again this Wednesday, November 3rd into the magical lands of 🦊 Coyote Valley as they explore the powerful framework of Article XIX which protects San José against Urban Sprawl. Could the wizardry of Article XIX also offer protection on our most pressing housing issues? Commissioner Maria Fuentes aims to find out.
Commissioner's Present: Barbara Marshman, Christina Johnson, Elizabeth Monley, Elly Matsumura, Enrico Callendar, Frank Maitski, George Sanchez, Huy Tran, Jeremy Barousse, Jose Posadas, Louis Barocio, Magnolia Segol, Maria Fuentes, Sammy Robledo, Sherry Segura, Thi Tran, Veronica Amador, Yong Zhao, Frederick Ferrer. Commissioner's Absent: Lan Diep, Linda Lezotte, Tobin Gilman.
Here's the play by play recap 🤾♀️…
🗳️Voting & Elections Subcommittee's Recommendation…what was supposed to be final voting regarding elevating Board of Fair Campaign and Political Practice's 🌟 status onto the Constitutional walk of fame became a commotion over motions on where the responsibility of studying “historical disenfranchisement” should lie. After nearly hour of debate, the recommendation was sent back to the drawing board (Recommendation, Memo from T. Tran)
🛠️ Article X Boards & Commission Reform… seeks to remove Citizenship requirements from all government Boards and Commissions per Senate Bill 225, expand reimbursements and stipends to remove socioeconomic barriers to civic participation, and maintain democratic best practices (Recommendation 1)
🦄 Using Gender Inclusive Language in the City Charter… following suit after Santa Clara County and the most recent 1st issued “X” gendered U.S. Passport, San José aims to move towards expanded gender identity (Recommendation 2)
🙏 Land Acknowledgments… the City of San José could set a new precedent making land acknowledgments a new best practice, whether it will officially make it into the City Charter and/or Policy Ordinance is TBD (Recommendation 3)
🚓 Policing and Municipal Law… San José could receive a big OS X update to their Public Safety Infrastructure with the creation of a Police Commission, Independent Investigations Department, and Office of the Inspector General. This recommendation could help alleviate the $26 Million Dollars of lawsuits that SJPD has settled since 2010. This change would align San José with San Francisco, Oakland, Davis, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego County explained Commissioner Rick Callendar. However, final negotiations will include talks with SJPD, the Police Union, Council, the Reimagining Public Safety Advisory Committee and other community stakeholders before we put that 💍 ring on it (Recommendation 4)
👩⚖️ Article XI Legislation Reforms to include an equity lens… moving forward the City of San José could be guided by a racial and social equity framework and principles. This would impact decisions on policies, budgets and programs to ensure accountability to previous efforts to address racial and social equity in the decision making process (Recommendation 5)
🧮 Department Audits Reform… who gets to decide what is audited and what is not? Once upon a time it was Council but in the future constituent-facing departments could get a department-wide performance audit at least every 6 years, while remaining departments get a department-wide performance audit at least every 12 years, presented at public meetings, with trackable correction action items and follow-ups (Recommendation 6)
💡Smart City Advisory Board and the Innovation & Technology Advisory Board metaverse reforms… SJSU Political Science Professor Dr. Garrick Percival gets meta on technology reform, an expert on Criminal Justice Reform, Public Policy, State & Local Government, Commissioner Percival asks why are we not tapping the local expertise and knowledge of Silicon Valley’s finest, with the goal of strengthening community input on the effects and consequences of technological change (Policy Recommendation 7)
🌎 COP26 Climate Summit comes to San José in the form of a Climate Action Commission… while the NYTimes reports that, “the opening day of a climate summit was heavy on dire warnings and light on substantive proposals as leaders in Glasgow met to discuss a warming world,” Commissioner Magnolia Segol comes in hot with a proposal to ddress our Climate Crisis through a community led coalition, inspired by longtime Climate Advocate and San Jose Resident Tessa Woodmansee (Recommendation 8)
🪡 Reforming the powers that be… Article IV the Council, Article V the Mayor and Article VI the City Manager gets placed under a critical lens by Commissioner Maria Fuentes. This proposal adds more oversight and accountability measures to the stewarding body of our democracy that aims to thread together the Statement of Equity Values presented by Commissioner Rick Callendar in Recommendation 5 through the entire administration (Recommendation 9)
🏘️ Home ownership pathways for low income residents of San José… could see its first set of 👶 baby teeth by next summer! This proposal aims to address the lack of affordable housing for low-income residents through policy, programs and renewed guidelines on “Area Median Income” standards and what types of home could be allocated as such (Recommendation 10)
💸 Community to Purchase Act (COPA)… promotes the prevention of tenant displacement through creation and preservation of community-owned affordable housing. This recommendation has also been studied with broad support from the Housing and Community Development Commission (btw they have 1 vacancy) and housing advocates in the bay area. It has currently been adopted by the City of San Francisco and Washington D.C. (Policy Recommendation 11)
*Disclaimer 🧐: all recommendations still need to go before Council discussion and vote on December 14th for approval before making its way onto the ballot for 2022.
Happening in the near future 🔮… mark your calendars for the season finale folks! We are at the final leg of our epic saga for the San José Constitutional Convention:
‼️ TOMORROW, November 3rd, 2021 @ 5:30 pm (zoom link, agenda) Charter Review Commission Study Session: a journey through magical lands of 🦊 Coyote Valley as the Commissioner’s explore the powerful framework of Article XIX that protects San José against Urban Sprawl.
⚔️ Monday, November 15, 2021 @ 5:30 pm Charter Review Commission Regular Meeting: Wordsmiths and mincing of the final recommendations to send to Council
🌹 Thursday, November 18, 2021 @ 5:30 pm Charter Review Commission Season Finale: Final rose ceremony as the Commission votes to send their babies to City Council
🪄 Inspired by all of the badassery of these 23 Commissioner's? Change is in the air, winter is coming and you too can get in on the best part of our democracy, check out all the vacancies on Boards and Commissions at the City of San José.